Saturday, March 17, 2018

20 years y'all!

Twenty years ago today this man planned an elaborate proposal that ended with him down on one knee on our favorite beach in Seattle asking me to be his wife. I was 19 years old and he was 21. We were so young and in love and the future was bright and boundless. We were married that same year in August where we vowed to love one another until death parted us. We said the traditional vows with stardust and optimism and a tinge of naivety; believing completely that our love was strong enough to hold the world at bay and allow us to live in our happy love bubble forever. He sang to me, I held his gaze with pride; he sang verse 2 first so when first 2 came around he just adlibbed and we laughed and I snuck in a kiss early!

Life has thrown curve balls at us. We have struggles just like everyone else. We misunderstand each other, we don’t always assume the best in one another, we can be impatient and selfish, we allow little things to pile up until we stub our toe on the pile of offenses, we accuse and get defensive and we get lonely. Sometimes we feel lonely when we’re inches away from one another.

In those moments it’s easy to think, “This isn’t what I signed up for”. 

I know that’s an easy thought because I’ve had it. I didn’t sign up to feel this. I didn’t sign up to deal with this. This isn’t what I expected. This isn’t what I planned and this isn’t what I thought we’d look like together.

You see, in dating we put our best face on, our steadiest foot forward and we can’t get enough of one another. There’s nothing too trivial, nothing too boring, nothing too inconsequential. We want to know it all. We want to experience it all. We want to bask in each other’s presence.  But be married a few months and that fades. The intoxication of love fades.  But that doesn’t mean the love has faded. 

It just means the stardust has settled a little.

And this is where the real love gets to act. No one stays together 20 years on happy feelings and heart racing, “Oh my gosh he just looked at me” kinds of emotions. No one stays together because life is easy breezy. People stay together for 20 years because they choose to. It’s a commitment. 

Walking through marriage is a commitment that has a foundation that communicates, “No matter what storms come, what hellish nightmare, what ruthless thoughts; my feet will walk one step at a time with yours.” 

It’s a determination; a declaration. “I won’t run. I won’t turn around and walk away. I will look you in the eyes and vow as I did before that I’m here. I won't bail when it's tough. You’re stuck with me. I’m stuck with you. We’re maybe stuck in it together for a while but that’s ok. There’s no one else I’d rather be stuck with.”

Over the last 20 years love has changed. The highs of infatuation have long worn off. We see each other clearly and fully. I know his quirks, his habits, his struggles, his demons and he see’s mine. We see each other’s humanity and embrace it anyway. 

Love looks like listening when we’d rather do our own thing. 
Love looks like going to the grocery store so the other one doesn’t have to. 
Love looks like being the first one out of bed to turn up the heat or pour the coffee or wake the kids. Love looks like that 5 minute back rub that you’d rather receive than give. 
Love looks like making the bed and clearing the table. 
Love looks like overlooking that snide comment and that eye roll (mine). 
Love sounds like I’m sorry and I forgive you. Love sounds like, “Good morning beautiful”. 
Love feels like the embrace at the end of the day that lets us settle in one another’s arms because it’s where we belong. 
Love feels like holding hands in the car. 
Love is his shoulder to cry on when I’ve had a bad day or gotten some hard news or when I’m just at the end of my rope. 
Love overlooks the mascara left on his favorite shirt after he’s held me while I cried. 
Love anchors us; always brings us back and holds us within reach.

I had no idea how hard marriage would be. I had no idea the kinds of fights we’d have or the way that we’d hurt one another. I also had no idea how powerful the words I’m sorry or I forgive you were.  

A humble heart, a broken and contrite spirit – it’s what God asks of us to have true communion with HIM. Truthfully, it’s what we need to have true communion with one another as well. 

A heartfelt apology wipes the slate clean. It has the power to shift the tenor in a room like no other.  It still amazes me how I can be so angry in one moment but when he comes to me with humility and seeks forgiveness and allows pride to fall away my heart that was hardened, thaws and softens immediately.

So, my love; thank you for getting down on one knee 20 years ago. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for seeing things in me that I didn’t know I had. Thank you for believing in me. But most of all thank you for steadily walking with me, day in and day out. We’ve come a long way baby and I’m so excited for the next 20. Not because they’ll be full of sunshine and roses but because I know no matter what we’ll walk them together.